If you're longing to see the sights and sounds of "Harry Potter," why not relive some of the movies' most memorable moments by visiting London? If you're planning to be in the city, don't miss the chance to see some of the easily accessible, muggle-friendly locations featured in the popular film series.
Whether you're visiting Diagon Alley with Harry, apparating to Piccadilly Circus with Hermione or flying a car to St. Pancras Station with Ron, here are a few convenient and recognizable spots.
Located off Gracechurch Street, this covered marketplace was used for Daniel Radcliffe and Robbie Coltrane's Diagon Alley scenes in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." With its ornate roof, cobbled floors and picturesque storefronts, walking through the market feels like stepping back in time.
Soak in the atmosphere while you grab lunch at one of the many nearby restaurants or enjoy a quiet drink at a pub. Those in the mood for exploring should head down Bull's Head Passage to find the shop front used as the Leaky Cauldron entrance in the first Harry Potter film. If you're there in December, the holiday lights and decorations are an absolute must-see.
The Borough Market sits just off Southwark Street and is one of the largest food markets in London. With dozens of restaurants and vendors selling everything from meats and cheeses to international produce and flowers, it's a great place to grab lunch, and it's guaranteed to have a trinket for every taste. While you're there, stop by the Chez Michele flower shop on the Stoney Street side. Potter fans will recognize the shop's brick facade from the Leaky Cauldron scene in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," where Daniel Radcliffe meets with Cornelius Fudge and the Knight Bus hits a parked car.
Home to more than 750 species of animals, the London Zoo is situated in Regent's Park on the north side of the city. Ticket prices range from £20-23 for adults and £15.50-17 for children depending on the time of year, though online discounts and family packages are available. One of the zoo's highlights is the Reptile House, where Harry and Dudley get up close and personal with a snake in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Though the snake in the film is a Burmese Python, the exhibit shown in the movie actually houses the zoo's deadly Black Mamba.
Built between 1675 and 1710, St. Paul's Cathedral is replete with history and breathtaking architectural features. The famous geometric staircase in the cathedral's South Bell Tower is featured in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" as the staircase that leads to the astronomy tower and Professor Trelawney's classroom. Parts of St. Paul's, including the staircase and the crypt, are only accessible during guided tours, which are free with admission to the cathedral. Tickets are £15 for adults and £6 for children, with family packages and discounts available.
Piccadilly Circus is a bustling five-street intersection in the heart of London. A well-known landmark, it's a hub of shopping, dining, and sightseeing activity, and it featured prominently in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I." During the cafe attack scene — when Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe's characters escape from Death Eaters at the Burrow — the threesome apparate onto Shaftesbury Avenue, one of the roads intersecting the circus. In the scene, they walk past Crest of London toward the Golden Nugget Casino before heading into the Trocadero. Whether you're aiming to shop, eat or just feel that you're really in London, Piccadilly is a great place to start.
The flying car scene in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" uses the spired, Neo-Gothic exterior of St. Pancras International train station, which is next door to King's Cross Station. Though interior shots were filmed in King's Cross, there's not really a barrier between platforms 9 and 10, so the one between 4 and 5 was used in the films.
The entrance to Platforms 9, 10 and 11 at the west end of the station, plays homage to the Potter movies: there's a mock entry to "Platform 9 3/4" with a sign and a luggage trolley that appear to be halfway through the brick. After seeing the sights and taking pictures, head inside St. Pancras for shopping and dining opportunities galore. After visiting one of the restaurants on The Grand Terrace, be sure to stop by Searcys, which prides itself on being the longest champagne bar in Europe.
by Zoe Bauer
Top: Leadenhall Market stood in for Diagon Alley in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." (Photo by Eric Nathan/Visit Britain)
Left: Borough Market appeared in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." (Photo by Joanna Henderson/Visit Britain)
Right: In "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I," Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe apparate onto Shaftesbury Avenue, one of the roads intersecting Piccadilly Circus. (Photo by Britain on View/Visit Britain)